Immigration in America: The melting pot works

The Economist

The melting potTHE tired, poor, huddled masses who arrive on America’s shores yearning to breathe free actually bring talent, youth and global connections. Some create jobs; others do the work most natives shun. And they prosper. Just look at German-Americans, the country’s single-largest ethnic group, who have assimilated so thoroughly that their neighbours now barely notice them.

America is built on immigration. Yet the country’s immigration system is a mess. Instead of fixing it, Congress seems poised to make things worse. Far too many lawmakers are trying to build ever-higher fences to keep foreigners out.

This week we have created a package of stories that highlight the value of immigration. Our leader argues that in the absence of common sense in Washington, more power over immigration policy should be delegated to the states. In our United States section, we lead with a story about German-Americans, who are thriving, and whose culture flavours America’s like cinnamon in an Apfelkuchen. Among other things, they gave Americans pretzels and hot dogs, ensuring that spectators of that great American pastime, baseball, never go hungry. Another article looks at the way struggling cities, such as Baltimore and Detroit, are eagerly luring immigrants to repopulate blighted neighbourhoods and replenish empty public coffers. The video below explains how this (sometimes) works. (Though it bears noting that living in Detroit is surprisingly expensive.) We also consider the example set by Canada and Australia, which issue special visas for immigrants who are willing to move to particular parts of the country.

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